A DEPLETED planning committee was made even more so on Monday when one councillor walked out in the first minute.

Councillor Christopher Ecclestone left during item one on the agenda as apologies from other absentees were read out.

Before leaving, he said: “As we haven’t properly elected a chairman for this committee, I am giving my apologies.”

Cllr Ecclestone has disputed Cllr Richard Rowles’ position as committee chairman as he nominated himself and his proposal had no seconder.

However the town council recognises Cllr Rowles as committee chairman.

At Monday’s meeting, apologies had earlier been heard from Cllr David Coole, while Cllr Rebecca Meyer was also absent.

She too sent apologies in advance, but her message was flagged as spam and therefore not seen until after the meeting.

The absences meant that the rest of the meeting was attended by just three councillors – the lowest turnout this year. Any lower and the meeting would have been called off altogether.